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New vs. Old

Real Estate Agent with Ventura Property Shoppe

Ventura HomesWhy do some folks like new homes, and other's like "well worn" homes?  This question occurred to me yesterday during a marathon showing session with a couple and their children that were being transferred to the area this summer. 

A few days before, we refined our list of homes and were careful to make sure the homes were in safe neighborhoods with good schools.  On the day of showing, about 8 homes in, we turned in to a neighborhood that looked different from the previous neighborhoods.  All the tree's were young, the yards were all perfectly manicured.  The homes were different shades of stucco, and all the roofs were the much sought after tile type.  We turned on the 3rd cul de sac and stopped in front of a two story, just short of 3000 square foot stucco home with a 3 car garage and a cute little hybrid car in the driveway.  We got out of the car pretty hurriedly and headed to the front door.  Once inside, I glanced over at my client.  It was evident that she was impressed, much more than any other houses we had seen so far.  This home had 20 plus foot ceilings in the formal living room and dining room, which was just to the right of the entry.  Directly in front of the entry was a huge, grand staircase.  I'm sure you can picture the layout, especially if you've been in a home that was built in the last 10 years or so.  Afer admiring those high ceilings, we came around the corner to a huge kitchen with granite counters and, yes, stainless steel appliances.  Decided to check my clients "impress meter" again and yes, it was starting to skyrocket!  Just beyond the glam kitchen was a huge family room with a fireplace and flat screen tv installed directly above.  Hardwood floors, too......gleaming, dark wood.  Yes, of course it had a guest bedroom and full bath on the bottom floor.....huge master suite too....with soaking tub, two sinks, and his and hers walk in closets!

My brain was impressed.....who could ask for more (unless you just won the lotto - then you can ask for more)?  But, personally, I could never live here.  My family, with teenagers, grade schoolers, 3 dogs, 2 birds, a fish, and a bunny would not feel "at home" in this perfect home, in a perfect neighborhood, with great schools, and convienent new shopping centers close by.  Why?

I find myself sitting in the backyard of my 45 year old home with cracked patios and overgrown shrubs alternating thoughts of all the projects I really need to find time for, and admiring the hydranga that is blooming for 5th summer in a row.  I remember all the clients I've had in the past that would not look at even one newer home.  Why?

Maybe it's because old homes "feel" warm, lived in, comfortable, and really cozy with thier 9 foot ceilings!  There's something so comforting and familiar about making dinner in my kitchen with wood floors that have seen their better days.....tile counters that remind me of a "swiss miss" dress.....and some good old fashion, white appliances.  One thing is for sure, my kitchen doesn't remind me of any other kitchen I've seen - and I see a lot of kitchens!  Remember your grandma's kitchen?  Everyone always gathered there.  It probably could have used a little updating, but she never felt she needed her kitchen to be a showplace. 

Two of my dogs just came out to join me on the patio.  They came through a broken screen door that I should have fixed 3 years ago when the youngest was a pup and ran full board thorugh it.  Since then, it's just a flap that the dogs, kids, and even us grown ups use to get to the backyard.  Imperfections in our homes are like the imperfections that make each of us unique.....they strengthen our bonds and pull us closer. 

That said, I totally get why some of us love brand spanking new houses.  Who wants to spend their Sundays fixing leaky hose bibs and patching that pesky crack in the ceiling that keeps coming back about every dang 6 months?  Really!  Who wants to hire a guy to remove popcorn ceilings, re-texture, prime, and paint....after you've moved every belonging in your home to the garage.......and move it back after he finishes?  But, as I sit here finishing my morning coffee, thinking about what kind of counters I want to put in my kitchen someday.........I think I'm solidly on the "old house" team.  I guess I'm just one of those people that needs something to look forward to!


Debbie Durkee
National Land Realty - Tulsa, OK
ALC, CRS -- Land & Country Estates near Tulsa

Myself, I feel better connected with older homes.  The new ones seem so sterile and "plastic." 

What really has been bothering me most about the new homes is the tendancy among builders to put the toilet in a little closet where it is separated from the sink.  What's with that?  It always feels to me like a stall at a gas station where I have to grab a corner of my shirt to open the door before I can wash my hands.  Where's the shelf for the reading material?  Perhaps I am just claustrophobic.  I think that is my biggest complaint about the new homes in our area.

Jun 20, 2010 06:55 AM
Deborah "Dee Dee" Garvin
C2 Financial - San Diego, CA
C2 Financial

Hope, I am so with you.  I am a bonafide "project freak" and really need outlets for my creative juices... seems I am always coming up with a new venture for the house!

Jun 20, 2010 07:00 AM
Lynn Krogseng
Keller Williams Premier Partners - Vancouver, WA

Hope, I enjoyed reading your post.  And I felt like joining you for coffee on your patio.  Our mid-70s home has a lot of updating to do (and after 6 years we just haven't gotten them all done) but I look at the way we live here and realize that it's home.  I agree that perhaps as agents we see so much of the brand spanking new that we really aren't dazzled by it so much.

Jun 20, 2010 07:01 AM
Pamela Seley
West Coast Realty Division - Murrieta, CA
Residential Real Estate Agent serving SW RivCo CA

Hope, love your post.  I live in a house that was built only 10 years ago, and I find myself thinking about how I want to update my kitchen with new cabinets, countertops and flooring.  I love projects, and have had to fix the sink and toilet already myself because the shutoff valves were worn out and leaking.  (I learned most builders put in temporary valves that have to replaced around the 10 year mark -- that's another topic.)  Maybe it's a state of mind, having something to look forward to.  I've had clients who like older homes because they say they like the layout better than the newer ones.  It's just a matter of preference, and a good agent listens to what their clients like, not what they like.  Beautifully written article BTW.

Jun 20, 2010 07:13 AM
Joan Cox
House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

Buyers today have DEFINITE answers, old vs new, and that will be usually the ONLY properties they want to view!    Great article!

Jun 20, 2010 08:37 AM